Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day 2008: What Was Old May Be New Again

All is quiet; campuses around the country are closed.

Meanwhile, it has been brought to our attention that at least one Arizona school board member is advocating a return to the good old days,
when school started after Labor Day:
One member of the Scottsdale School Board claims a lot of money could be saved if schools statewide started after the Labor Day weekend.

Many schools, including those in Scottsdale, now start in mid-August, which Dieter Schaeffer noted is a month of high-energy use.

Schaeffer wants state lawmakers to start looking at a statewide calendar in which all schools would start after Labor Day.

``The reason for that is, I believe, that there are some significant resources available to us by reducing electricity usage."

Schaeffer said he hopes discussions with legislators, educators and others can start this year.

He said it could take a couple of years to put the plan in motion.

"This is a huge issue that involves universities as well as testing institutions, the whole sports arena -- football, soccer -- and, of course, the legislators."

The first steps are getting cost-saving estimates from Salt River Project and Arizona Public Service Co. and opening up a healthy debate, he said.

He wants the entire state to study moving classes out of the peak summer months for electricity use.

Schaeffer said if the state would save money on school power bills, it could put more money into classrooms.

"I don't want to reduce the academic teaching time. But if we can reduce our energy usage, we can put that money in the classroom," he said.
I don't know if starting after Labor Day will make much difference in Arizona, but out here in the blistering hot wasteland that is California's so-called "Imperial" Valley, we always experience a fairly large number of enrollments the day after Labor Day when vacationing families return to town.

And in this post-NCLB world, the fewer number of days missed by students the better.